Adobe AIR 2.0, full-featured Flash Player coming to smartphones

Goal is to give desktop and mobile users the same capabilities for AIR and Flash, and to give developers a common runtime and set of APIs

Adobe Systems is readying a mobile version of Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR), its runtime for running Flash and Web applications outside of a browser. The company plans to demonstrate AIR 2.0 running on a Google Android-based smartphone today at the Mobile Word Congress in Barcelona. Adobe expects to make mobile AIR available for Android and RIM BlackBerry devices, and perhaps for other platforms as well, said Adrian Ludwig, Adobe's marketing director for the Flash platform.

The mobile version will provide users access to content they previously could not reach, Ludwig said. Users, for example, will be able to share screens across systems using the Adobe Acrobat Connect online service via AIR on mobile systems. "Our goal is to provide a consistent runtime that spans devices, inclusive of [mobile and] desktop operating systems," he said.

[ Adobe announced beta releases of AIR 2.0 and Flash Player 10.1 in November for desktop systems. | See how Adobe AIR and Microsoft Silverlight compare in the InfoWorld Test Center preview. ]

AIR 2.0 is currently in a beta release for Mac, Windows, and Linux desktops. Adobe expects AIR 2.0 will be generally available on desktops by July, and later on mobile devices. There will be no beta version of the mobile release.

"AIR makes applications more compatible between desktops and mobile, and that's a big asset," said analyst Al Hilwa of IDC. "There's an opportunity here for products that can achieve some sort of critical mass across form factors, and Adobe is deftly going after that," he said. Adobe, though, will need broad platform support to make that happen, he added.

Also at the conference, Adobe will preview Flash Player 10.1, which will bring to mobile devices the same capabilities, runtime, and APIs as the desktop version, Ludwig said. Adobe released a beta of version of Flash Player 10.1 recently to mobile developers and mobile content providers. Adobe expects general availability of Flash Player 10.1 to occur by July. Flash Player will be available for the Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, and Solaris desktop OSes and for the Windows Mobile, Android, Palm WebOS, Symbian, and BlackBerry OSes, Ludwig said. Apple continues to prevent Flash from beimg available for the iPhone.

This article, "Adobe AIR 2.0, full-featured Flash Player coming to smartphones," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in software development and mobile computing at InfoWorld.com.

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